Howard steps to the shadowy side with
a pair of protagonists who can genuinely be called antiheroes. This novel is
a character study that explores the intersecting lives of two survivors whose moral compasses are pretty
nonfunctional. The hope for redemption plays a key role in this very nontraditional and edgy romantic thriller. The darkest of her books to date, this is quite a different turn for gifted storyteller Howard.
When Drea Rousseau's boyfriend, drug kingpin Rafael Salinas, arbitrarily gives her "services for five hours" to a mysterious assassin, rage and hatred drive her actions.
Although emotions play little role in his life, world-class assassin Simon is intrigued by Drea, who he suspects is more than a pretty face. Drea manages to steal $2 million from Rafael and disappear, but an enraged Rafael hires Simon to track her down.
Simon has mixed emotions about the assignment, but when fate takes a deadly turn, he's forced to confront the possibility of a miracle. (July, 368 pp., $26.00)